Indian firms face maximum vulnerability when it comes out of brands. A major weakness in India’s international marketing is the total absence of branded products in the country’s export basket. Indian goods are sold in the world markets either as a commodity or under buyers’ brand names. Brand strength is a must if India has to become a major exporting nation and reap the profits she deserves from her exports. A good brand name is the best means of high value realization; it is also the best assurance to the customer on the quality of goods. Many of India’s export winners – leather goods, finished like leather, tea, coffee, tobacco, ready made garments do not fetch attractive prices because of the lack of strong brands. The major part of the profits often go to the middlemen abroad. But the problem is that brands can be established only over a period of time. This is an area to which Indian firms have to give urgent attention.
Buying out on-going brands in different countries:
The process of establishing a new brand in a foreign country is very expensive. Worse still, it is enormously time consuming. Indian companies have to consider the option of buying out existing brands in different parts of the world markets. There are always firms looking for sale of their brands. Of course strong brands will demand their due price. Buy out of brands helps entry into world markets at a lesser cost and with practically no gestation period. In fact, brand acquisition is one of the routes, which many MNCs resorted to while entering the Indian markets in the 1990s. They bought out many domestic brands like Hero, Maruti, Thumsup, Kwality, Hamam, and Kissan. The difficulty, of course is that Indian firms often do not command the capital clout required for brand acquisition. It is here that the Brand Acquisition and set up by the Indian government can play a useful role.
Other Problems / Nuances:
Problem of transferability of advertisements: A successful advertisement in one country cannot be simply copied and transferred to another country’s market, without understanding its peculiarities and the nuances of its language. The history of international marketing is replete with instances of wrong advertising damaging an otherwise good marketing program. The same color, the same symbol, the same metaphor and the same brand name may mean different things to different cultures and their impact too may differ widely. Big Business Blunders by David A Ricks narrate several such instances of communication blunders in international marketing. To cite a coupe of typical instances given by Ricks: A large multinational corporation once made an attempt to sell its baby food in an African nation. On the package of the baby food, it used the same copy that it used in the home market the pictures of a baby and a caption explaining the nature of the baby food inside the package. African consumers were horrified at the picture and the message. They thought the food inside was made of powdered babies. Another multinational corporation tried to sell its well known brand of toothpaste in South East by stressing its usual message that the brand whitens teeth. When sales did not pick up, their research found out the reason: the natives used to chew betel nut to blacken teeth. The sum and substance of these examples is that the cultural dynamics and the specific buying motives of the concerned customer segments should form the basis for advertising and communication in international marketing. The marketers should avoid the tendency to blindly transfer advertisement messages across different languages and cultural groups.
Dearth of multinational: Media that are truly multinational are few. The vastness of the territory involved in international marketing and the limited territorial reach of various media vehicles adds to the complexity of multinational advertising. Periodicals radio and TV are the main media that reach several countries simultaneously.
But among periodicals, there are not many which have an international coverage. Technical and professional journals offer scope for transnational advertising but they can be used only for industrial and technical products, the international marketers have to mostly rely upon the media vehicles available within each national market. The developed nations generally have a proliferation of media and media vehicles. But the developing countries as a class are deficient in this area.